What's in your bag, Elissa Nadworny?

For this installment of “What’s In Your Bag?” NPR producer Elissa Nadworny shares the audio and photography kit she used on a recent trip to Alaska.

I’ve been producing the Our Land series for the last four months. Melissa Block and I just returned from southeast Alaska where we recorded eight stories for NPR’s newsmagazines.

For one of our stories, we profiled a father-daughter fishing crew in Sitka, Alaska. We spent the day with them on their boat, the Alexa K, trolling for salmon and talking about the hard, dangerous and rewarding work of commercial fishing.

(Elissa Nadworny/NPR)

Here’s what I brought along for our day on the boat


  • Marantz PMD661 audio recorder
  • Marantz PMD620 audio recorder. I use the smaller 620 as a backup. On a previous trip, we recorded in a canoe on the Mississippi River. My cable got caught in an oar and the tension yanked out my headphones, broke the headphone adapter, and rendered the 661 un-monitorable. I was very glad I had a backup!
  • Sony MDR-7506 headphones. My primary set of headphones.

    Melissa Block and Elissa Nadworny in Sitka, Alaska. (Courtesy of Mollie Kabler)

  • Electro-Voice RE50B omnidirectional mic. I usually bring two mics when I’m out with Melissa Block. With the Marantz 661, we can do two channels recorded separately. But I didn’t end up using this mic on the boat. (Editor’s note: Had something gone wrong with the Rycote zeppelin/shotgun setup, the RE50 would have worked really nicely in its place, as omnidirectional mics are less susceptible to wind noise.)
  • Rode NT-2 shotgun mic in a Rycote Windjammer with an additional layer of fuzzy protection. Our trip to Alaska was the first time I used a Windjammer. It was awesome. The wind was super loud, even on land, so it was a must for the fishing trip.
  • K-Tek K-HG 6-inch hand grip for the RE50
  • Manfrotto custom boom pole. I brought it in case I needed to be closer to the water. This particular one is super compact.
  • 1 medium XLR cable, 1 XLR to 1/8 inch for the Marantz 620
  • iPhone charging cable and a battery block, which holds about 2 full iPhone charges. I use this all the time!
  • 8 Lithium AA batteries. Lithiums are really worth the extra money. They last about twice as long as others.
  • 2 Extra SD cards, usually 8GB or higher


  • Canon 5D Mark III w/ a F/2.8 24-70 mm lens. This is my favorite lens, I have other prime lenses, but I hardly ever switch from this guy.
  • Extra Canon battery for the camera
  • 1 extra compact flash card for the camera. I have a 32GB card in the camera and that rarely gets filled. For reference, I took about 750 photos this day.

Odds and ends

  • Hand sanitizer. Having a sticky mic or camera is just gross, so I’m always squeezing a bit of this when I can.
  • Sunscreen. I wear it every day, no matter the weather.
  • Water bottle. All the technical stuff we do in the field is basically like working out, so staying hydrated makes me less grumpy and tired.
  • Snacks. Usually a bar of some kind (this ThinkThin bar was a 5/10). On this day, I also brought about half of a bag of baby carrots and carried them in the Ziploc bag the poncho came in.
  • Rain gear. Boats and Alaska weather mean you should waterproof everything. I brought rain ponchos for Melissa Block and me, a dry bag for equipment, and waterproof pants (they were great and didn’t make much noise).
  • Drugs and Band-Aids. I usually bring Tylenol and Motrin; this time I added some motion sickness medicine just in case. I always have a Band-Aid or two.
  • Press pass
  • Reporter notebook and pens
  • Hat and gloves

What’s in your bag? is a regular series about the tools used by people in public media. We all use the basics (like a mic and headphones), but the way we personalize our kits is where things get interesting — and where we can learn from each other.

Whose bag should we open next? Let us know at trainingteam@npr.org or on Twitter!

Rob Byers was a Production Specialist with the NPR Training team, where he focused on audio engineering.